THE BLACK CROWES drummer and co-founder Steve Gorman says that he will be "stunned" if Rich and Chris Robinson don't reunite soon to play music together again.
Gorman, whose "Hard To Handle: The Life And Death Of The Black Crowes - A Memoir" is scheduled for release later this month, made his comments while promoting the book on Radio Forrest.
Asked if he would agree with Rich's assessment that Chris wanted THE BLACK CROWES to sound like THE GRATEFUL DEAD and that Chris wanted most of the money for himself, which is what ultimately caused the band's breakup, Gorman said (hear audio below): "Well, the second point first — that's not an assessment; that's just a fact. Chris did demand the lion's share of the money moving forward after 27 years, which is what ended the band. It's an absurd thing to demand of people. And it wasn't a way out, because he spent months trying to get me and Rich to change our minds. So that's what that is, and there's no gray area with that. As for THE GRATEFUL DEAD, Chris is a giant 'Deadhead' and he wanted to incorporate an awful lot of what they did into THE BLACK CROWES. It's a little simplistic to say he wanted us to sound like THE GRATEFUL DEAD, but he certainly wanted THE BLACK CROWES to incorporate an awful lot of what THE DEAD did in ways that were artistically at times interesting and more often than not inauthentic. That's my view."
Pressed about the possibility of a BLACK CROWES reunion and whether he would be involved in the band's comeback, Gorman said: "I would say if you're looking for odds, I think it's a safe bet to assume that they'll be back together playing music. My involvement is nothing I would wager on. I have no interest whatsoever in doing that. The truth is THE BLACK CROWES can get back together and play shows. It'll never be as great as it once was — it could never even scratch the surface of what it once was musically — and for that and a myriad of other reasons, I'm not interested in being involved. I don't know what the two of them are thinking of doing, but if you're asking me, I'll be stunned if they aren't back together sooner than later."
Asked if Chris is "the difficult one" of the brothers to deal with, Gorman said: "This is the shortest way to say it: Is Chris difficult? Absolutely. Was Rich difficult? Without question. Were we all difficult together? Yes. The band was at times a great band. It was impossible for the band to focus on its strengths and ignore its weaknesses; instead, it was almost the opposite. The times when we were able to do what we did best, the results spoke for themselves. THE BLACK CROWES were a band that on a nice sunny day, driving with the top down, always looks for the potholes on the road as opposed to the views of the cloudless sky. That's the simplest way to put it right now. But as of September 24th, if you would like a far more in-depth accounting of my views on the band, the book will be out as of that time."
According to Gorman, THE BLACK CROWES' split cannot be attributed to any one particular reason, be it fame, drugs or general personality clashes that come with being around the same people for so many years. "It was all of those things," he explained. "Fame and fortune at a young age are not good for anybody, but not good for THE BLACK CROWES in particular. I just don't think anybody in the band — myself included — was prepared or in any way, shape or form was anticipating such big success from our first album. But then you do add to it — there was a lot of systemic issues that were there when we were a local band. The brothers fought every day of their lives. I stepped into a band — it was me and two brothers, and without meaning to, I just ended up as the guy in the middle. And then we grabbed a few more people and then suddenly we had sold millions of albums. And there's a general sense of, 'Oh, that must mean we're right. And we did it.' And then the two of them both wanted to take credit for things other people did.
"THE BLACK CROWES were built as a group by consensus, with the efforts and vision of many people, like any successful band is," he continued. "Ultimately, it turns into two people both saying, 'No, it was me. No, it was me,' and everybody else being stuck in the middle trying to keep the thing moving forward. Like I said, we never focused on our strengths — it was always a case of starting strong and limping to the finish line. And that cycle just repeated itself for years. When you're a local band, you don't get on a bus and go to sleep next to the person you were just arguing with. When you're a local band, you all just go to your own homes and you don't see each other for three days. But when your band hits the road for two straight years, you never get a break, and it's real easy to fall into a submarine-like mentality. And the rest of the world disappears and the rules that apply in the real world and how you treat each other, all those things go out the window. And you look up and 20 years passed, and everybody is going, 'How the hell did we get here?' That happens to bands all the time. My band had a spectacular resolve never to address the real issues, and as far as I know, that's still the case where the brothers are concerned. But we'll see."
"Hard To Handle: The Life And Death Of The Black Crowes - A Memoir" was written by Gorman, along with contributor Steven Hyden. The 368-page hardcover book will be published on September 24 by Da Capo Press.
In a recent interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, Chris Robinson was asked how much of a chance there is that he will tell his story one day in a similar way to Gorman.
"I don't think there would be anything similar," Chris responded. "I'm a writer. [Laughs] That's what I do. I don't think it would have anything to do with something like that. My life has been the life of, you know, the ideas. I'm the one who put the band together. I'm the one who pointed us in the direction. You know, Rich and I wrote the songs. I'm the one that lived the life, as well. So to have someone's view from the sideline or someone's view who wasn't at those parties or didn't live that life or didn't create anything is going to be much different than the person's who has."
He continued: "I've been offered; book deals have come and gone. I'm kind of still in the second act, you know what I mean? I'm still 20 years away from even beginning to slow down and put it all together in that sort of term. I think the best rock and roll books or whatever you want to call them are the way Patti Smith [approached hers]. My life, no matter what, has been a dream. That's what I do. So, it would be much different than writing about some stuff that you watched."
THE BLACK CROWES played their final show in December 2013.
Last year, Chris put together a band called AS THE CROW FLIES to perform primarily BLACK CROWES songs. Joining the singer in the new group are fellow former CROWES members Adam MacDougall, Andy Hess and Audley Freed, plus Marcus King and Tony Leone.
Rich Robinson is currently involved with THE MAGPIE SALUTE in which he is joined by Marc Ford from THE BLACK CROWES, bassist Sven Pipien (also from the CROWES) along with lead singer John Hogg (HOOKAH BROWN, MOKE), drummer Joe Magistro and guitarist Nico Bereciartua.